Japan Shares Rise as Topix Extends Six-Year High on Yen

Japanese shares rose, with the Topix index extending a six-year high, after the yen touched its weakest level against the dollar since 2008.

Toyota Motor Corp., a carmaker that gets three-quarters of its sales overseas, added 0.8 percent. Wireless carrier SoftBank Corp. jumped 2.9 percent after unit Sprint Corp. shares surged yesterday on introducing an “iPhone for Life” plan to win back customers. Oki Electric Industry Co. led gains on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average after raising its first-half profit forecast.

The Topix increased 0.3 percent to 1,311.24 at the close of trading in Tokyo, with about the same number of shares rising as falling. The measure erased its year-to-date loss yesterday to close at its highest since July 2008. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.8 percent to 15,909.20 today. The yen lost 0.1 percent to 106.93 per dollar after touching the lowest since September 2008.

“The economies in the U.S. and Japan are diverging and so are their monetary policies, and this is weakening the yen,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “The currency touching a six-year low against the dollar is improving exporters’ price competitiveness and will help them increase overseas sales, ultimately feeding through to their earnings.”

Toyota gained 0.8 percent to 6,218 yen. Nissan Motor Co., which gets 78 percent of sales outside Japan, rose 1.1 percent to 1,053.5 yen.

The Topix has rebounded 16 percent from an April 14 low amid optimism about the global economy and speculation Japan’s $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund will buy more domestic shares. The equity gauge traded at 1.3 times book value today, compared with 2.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple Rally

Futures on the S&P 500 slipped 0.1 percent. The underlying equity gauge climbed 0.4 percent yesterday, following a two-day slide, as Apple Inc. rallied the most since April to boost technology shares, while investors continued to speculate on the timing of interest-rate increases.

SoftBank advanced 2.9 percent to 8,180 yen. Sprint’s new iPhone plan, which comes after Apple Inc. unveiled models with bigger screens, will cost $70 a month and include unlimited data. Customers make no initial payment for the handset or related taxes because they are essentially renting it. Sprint’s shares rose 6.6 percent to $6.15 yesterday.

Oki Electric surged 7.2 percent to 254 yen. The electronic-device manufacturer raised its first-half profit forecast to 5.5 billion yen ($51.4 million) from 1 billion yen and doubled its operating-income outlook to 6 billion yen for the period ending Sept. 30, citing ATM demand from China.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. climbed 6.8 percent to 1,178 yen and Kansai Electric Power Co. gained 3.5 percent to 1,034 yen. The Nikkei reported that Japan’s nuclear regulator will likely approve safety reports on reactors at Kyushu’s Genkai and Kansai’s Takahama plants.

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